Only older men get mesothelioma right?
Research into mesothelioma indicates that white males over age 65 are most likely to be diagnosed with the disease but that doesn’t mean they are the only ones afflicted.
In general, mesothelioma victims are age 65 and older, no matter their race or gender, because of the long gestation period between exposure to asbestos and appearance of symptoms that lead to diagnosis.
Here’s a look at how and why the demographics of mesothelioma break down.
In case you missed it, check out our series on asbestos myths here.
Why is it that men are most commonly affected by mesothelioma?
According to the American Lung Association, at least 80% of those with mesothelioma were victims of asbestos exposure. Most asbestos exposure occurred on the job and the industries associated with this risk were historically male-dominated. The Mesothelioma Center has identified 75 occupational groups where workers were most likely to be exposed to asbestos.
Some of the most common industries for asbestos exposure include:
- Naval military and shipyards
- Manufacturing and industrial
- Mining, milling and processing
- Sheet metal
- Power plants
- Auto manufacture and repair
This is not the extent of jobs linked to asbestos exposure but are the most common. Some careers involved handling of asbestos itself or components containing asbestos, while other asbestos exposure victims may have worked in buildings where asbestos was present in the construction and damage to the facility caused exposure.
If you were diagnosed with mesothelioma, most likely it was caused by asbestos and you were exposed on the job.
Are women ever victims of mesothelioma?
Yes. Women who worked in any of the above listed industries or a job known to be near asbestos are at risk to develop mesothelioma. However, what’s more common with women who develop mesothelioma is that they were exposed second-hand to asbestos.
This is typical for women who had a husband or other family member that worked in an asbestos-related job and brought asbestos fibers home on their clothes and skin.
Our firm recently won a significant settlement for a woman whose husband was a tile floor installer. She laundered his work clothes daily that had asbestos fibers on them. Decades later, she developed mesothelioma.
To date, her husband has not developed the disease. Some people who are heavily and directly exposed to asbestos will never develop the illness while others that were exposed indirectly or with less intensity will develop meosthelioma. Researchers aren’t certain what causes this discrepancy.
Are people younger than 60s or 70s ever hit with mesothelioma?
While it is mostly older men that develop mesothelioma, it can occur in other age groups. It is rare for young children to develop mesothelioma.
In children younger than their teens, radiation therapy for Wilms’ tumor may cause mesothelioma, as can in-utero exposure to a drug called isoniazid. Also, some children may have a genetic predisposition to developing mesothelioma.
In teens and those in their 20s and 30s, mesothelioma may also be caused by:
- Second-hand exposure to asbestos from a parent who was exposed directly
- Asbestos exposure at their school
- Environmental asbestos (breathing it in from contaminated air or touching contaminated soil)
- Asbestos in arts and crafts items including crayons, modeling clay and chalk
Will the demographics of mesothelioma ever change?
While use of asbestos in many industries has slowed in recent decades, asbestos is not illegal. Most of the people now being diagnosed with mesothelioma were exposed on the job prior to decreased usage of asbestos products and increased worker safety measures.
However, it is anticipated that in the next 30 to 40 years there will be a wave of new cases of mesothelioma as a result of the 9/11 attacks. The World Trade Center was constructed in an era when asbestos was prevalent in building materials.
When the Twin Towers collapsed, a large cloud of smoke, dust and debris was released which included asbestos fibers and particles. According to the World Trade Center Health Registry, more than 410,000 people were exposed including first responders, workers, residents, survivors, and members of the press.
Already, first responders to the incident are seeing increased rates in other cancers, but because of the longer gestation period of mesothelioma, experts predict a spike to begin around the year 2050.
If you or a loved one was diagnosed with mesothelioma, Bergman Draper Ladenburg can help. We fight for the rights of asbestos victims, have won more than $600 million for mesothelioma victims, and can help you get the answers you need.
Contact us now to find out more about the statute of limitations for a claim and a free case evaluation. We are the largest asbestos law firm in the Pacific Northwest, have handled more claims than any other firm, and are now accepting cases all over the US. Call (888) 647-6007 or click here for help.